A coach load of British school children and adults careered off the road in France in the early hours of this morning.

One teacher, aged 59, was killed and a further 27 have been injured, including four teenagers who are in a serious conditon in hospital.

The school group were on their way back from a skiing holiday in the Valle d'Aosta, Italy. The accident happened at 3 a.m this morning just outside the town of Chalons-en-Champagne on the A26, 90 miles from Paris. The coach careered off the road and struck a motorway safety barrier before rolling into the ditch and coming to rest on its side.

Four ambulance crews and 100 firemen attended the scene. The motorway's northern carriageway was closed for more than fours.

The British driver, who is also seriously injured and unable to speak, is thought to have fallen asleep at the wheel. He was driving the school children back to Alvechurch School in Worcestershire after a half-term ski holiday. Local police are planning on detaining him when he's discharged from hospital.

In total there were 29 children on board and 19 adults - made up of 13 teachers and six ski instructors from Interski.